US: Following Asda's £778m acquisition of Netto UK, Walmart International CEO Mike Duke has promised further expansion of its international business.

Speak­ing to Walmart Inter­national workers this week he said: "The first expecta­tion for Walmart Interna­tional is about growth. My expecta­tion is to add customers and stores and to grow Walmart International at an even faster pace." Walmart International sales rose 21.4% to $25bn in the three months to April.

US: Wholesale giant Costco has reported a 9% jump in US sales to $6bn for the four weeks to 30 May, while sales rose 10% to $57.17bn in the 39 weeks to 30 May. Sales in the international division increased 17% and 21% respectively over the same periods. Inflation in fuel prices and currency exchanges had boosted sales, Costco said. Costco has been voted the best place to shop in the US for price, value and shopping experience by the annual Consumer Report America's Top Stores survey.

The Netherlands: Ahold, which operates more than 3,500 supermarkets in the US and Europe, has posted a 1% increase in first-quarter sales to 8.7bn. Like-for-like sales rose 1.7% in the US and by 2.8% in the Netherlands, but fell 0.6% in the rest of Europe.

Group net profit rose 45.7% to 274m during the period, boosted by re-adjustments for its former subsidiaries. The market remained challenging, warned CEO John Rishton, with customers focused on value and promotions. "Despite these conditions we remain confident in our ability to balance sales and margins," he added.

Belgium: The European Commission has opened an investigation into Unilever's E1.28bn takeover of the Sara Lee personal care business. The EC has potential concerns on several product markets, including skin cleansing and fabric care.

Unilever said the deal should be completed in the fourth quarter of 2010, and added: "We believe the process will balance the legitimate interest of the commission with the company's desire to maxi­mise the opportunities from an acquisition that will deliver more value to consumers, customers and investors."